Types of Anime and Video Game Conventions

Thursday, January 08, 2009

There are few countries in this world that have as many anime and videogame related conventions nowadays (even Japan doesn't have this much, not that they'd need any more). In the US, most conventions are distinguished by the locations where they are held (AnimeBoston etc), or for which particular theme the con is for. Here in the Philippines, however, we don't really have regional diversity, as most cons are held within Metro Manila but we still have a lot of conventions. I've decided to enumerate the classifications of these conventions so far:

OrgCons - Conventions organized by school organizations, and other non-corporate organizations. These sort of conventions are generally hit-or-miss conventions as some organizations tend to lack the funding or sponsor-backing to actually hold a convention, but do so anyway, resulting in an event that less looks like a convention and more like a gathering of particularly colorful homeless people. Other cons that do manage to hold up their balance sheets are actually one of the better cons that you can attend, as you'll be with more non-casual (i.e. obsessed) anime fans and less out-of-curiosity con goers whose interest in anime is about as much as my interest in Twilight (read: little to none). The lack of a dominant corporate sponsor also means you won't have to put up with too much incessant bullshit plugging that nobody pays attention to anyway. (Samples: TomasinOtaku, AME Cons, Cosplaymania)

SponsorCons - At the far end of the sellout spectrum, we have the sponsored conventions that aren't really gatherings of people who love anime and videogames but are more of huge advertisement events for the main sponsor (more like cocksuck, but you didn't hear it from me) Crowd turnout is almost always overwhelming, bringing out situations that Anna refers to as "Tuna Can" scenarios, presumably because tunas don't really like being squeezed in a can and also presumably because Anna doesn't like to use sardines as an example. Mixed in with the crowds are the hardcore sponsor's fans, the casual congoers who got reeled in by the advertisments, and more infrequently, the dedicated fans of anime. Good cons to start from, if you've never been to a con, but a bad con to go to if you have HAAAAAAAARDCOOOOOORE anime fans for friends who will consider you "impure" after you've gone to such a con. (solution: get new, normal friends) (Samples: Hataw Hanep Hero Con, Level Up! Live, Otakuzine Con)

Themed Cons - Themed cons are like org cons, but are generally fixated for just one particular anime/videogame theme. Crowds tend to be either a bit snobbish, elitist or simply rabid (see FinalFantasy Nerds;foaming mouth of) To be honest, I'm not really a fan of these things, at least until organizers find enough clues that some people are still waiting for hentai nurse tentacle rape-themed conventions. If you're organizer and you're reading this, take it from me. This shit is the next BIG thing. (Samples: Final Fantasy Con, Yaoi Con)

DivisoriaCons - Some cons are meant to be places where people with a common interest can meet up and share what they have with each other. Divisoriacons, on the other hand, are simply very thinly veiled shopping bazaars. It's not hard to realize that the stage was just put in there to draw you in and find reason to make you stay long enough to BUY something. Crowds range from the hardcore 40ish toy collectors, to the younger guys who didn't really realize what they're getting into until they're already inside and have paid for a ticket already, and are too cheap to go home immediately. These cons are excellent places to find those rare toys that you may be looking for, but not rare enough to actually waste money for shipping on eBay. (Samples: ToyCon, Chirstmas ToyCon, Any con initiated by Toy's R Fucking Us)

Con-yare related Cons- One funny thing about cosplays is that, as long as there are some in a convention, crowds WILL enter the convention. Organizers of other cons were quick to find out and capitalize on this, so now we have about a hundred conventions that are remotely related to anime and video games but are willing to associate, for the want of a larger crowd base. Sometimes it doesn't even matter anymore if the theme of the convention is related. We can have a farm convention and they'd still want "Farm Anime" cosplayers or some shit like that. I wish I were kidding. Remember the business processing job fair? Good if you don't. The existence of cons like this is the reason why people think cosplayers are retarded. They're being used as publicity material for chump change and they're still biting. Unless you're going for the actual theme of the con (i.e. Farm animals), avoid this type like the plague. (Samples: BPO Fair '08, BookFair '08)

ShovelCons - A derogatory catch-all phrase for boilerplate cons that are obviously neither geared to satisfy fans nor promote anything. Often poor copies of more established conventions, ShovelCons are often poorly organized, and with no distinguishing mark whatsoever, other than being hell-bent on milking money out of the mindless drove of people who'll pay money to get inside a con with cosplayers and occassional sounds of japanese pop music. These cons are often attended only by two types of people: Fans who just can't wait to attend bigger cons and need some outlet, and people who're clueless about the whole i-want-to-milk-silly-fans scheme. These cons are long since considered one of the biggest cancers killing the community and should be avoided at all costs, unless entering one is the only way to escape serial killers who've just broken out of prison. (while they may follow you inside, im sure they'd find plenty other targets to kill)
(Samples: most cons that are held in the middle of a frigging mall)

PerfectCons - A perfect con is where sponsors don't whore out, the venue manages the crowd well, the event programs are organized, the food isn't overprized, and the wares cannot be found in the anime merchandise shop just a few meters away from the con area. Also, the cosplayers do not have body odor. This con does not exist, but you are encourage to keep praying at night for us to get a con like this someday. Still, that's just wishful thinking. (Samples: The Future RedKinoCon)


sabbath said...

I have to agree with the shovelcon category. Some cons just aren't worth getting into.

Anonymous said...

You hit the mark on several things. It's a wishful thinking to see a con with the proper elements in place, especially when it's rightly organized by knowledgeable people minus the BS.

Although I've been invited by some of my friends to check out the events, I graciously refused.

Why? Sometimes I feel too overwhelmed in such conventions, like I'm totally out of place.

Instead I'm just a simple anime viewer who just watches what good stuff is on TV (and I'm gearing up to watch Azumanga Daioh later).


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